Mikel Merino and Alexander Sorloth scored in each half as Real Sociedad secured a 2-1 home win over Barcelona on Saturday, handing the LaLiga champions their first home defeat of the season on a day when they were celebrating winning the title.
With the league title in the bag, there was a sense of the end of the season at the Camp Nou as fans waited to see the post-match celebrations when Barcelona lifted the LaLiga Cup.
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However, Real Sociedad made sure not to let all go Barcelona’s way as they advanced quickly, with Merino scoring a stunning goal in the fifth minute.
They continued their lead with Sorloth in the 72nd minute and Robert Lewandowski headed Barcelona in from close range in the 90th minute.
And before the end of three matches, fourth-placed Real Sociedad advanced with 65 points and tightened its grip on the last place in the Champions League qualifiers, five points ahead of fifth-placed Villarreal, who beat Girona 2-1 earlier on Saturday.
Champions Barcelona are 14 points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid, who play in Valencia on Sunday. Atletico Madrid ranks third with 69 points.
“If you remember at the beginning of the season, you asked for unity,” said Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez at the Camp Nou. “Now is the time to say thank you. First, to the President and his Board of Directors for the unconditional support they have given us.” We’re not that bad, eh, Pricy? We are very grateful.
“Thank you to the machine, to the players who gave everything on the pitch. And to the fans. Without you it wouldn’t have been possible. You were amazing. Those who filled the stadiums, those who were in the bus parade. I gave goosebumps.”
Captain Sergio Busquets received the LaLiga Cup from FIFA President Luis Rubiales and presented it to the crowd with his teammates. The occasion was also a celebration for the midfielder, who won his 32nd and final cap before leaving Barcelona this summer.
The 34-year-old said: ‘No one doubts this is just beginning. Thank you to all the fans because it wouldn’t be possible without you. Thank you to the staff for helping us be the best we can be.
He added, “A word to Hector Bellerin, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Gerard Pique, Memphis Depay and our colleagues from the team that also helped us win this title,” referring to those players who started the season with Barcelona but have since departed.
Information from ESPN’s Sam Marsden contributed to this report.